Everybody loves a story. Telling stories is an age-old art form, and a good story well-told stays long in the memories of its listeners or readers.
This June, Franklin Writers' Group is offering the chance to compose your own short story and finally let the ideas buzzing in your head the opportunity to get out.
The Franklin Writers' Group's biennial short story competition is on now. Past competitions have proved popular, with up to 100 entries.
“We want to encourage all writers to have a go,” says competition organiser Barbara Craig. “This year the theme is ‘You Wouldn’t Believe!’, so it's an opportunity for imaginations to run wild. There are excellent cash and sponsored prizes for the winners, and it's open to all ages.”
The concise format, (entries must be under 300 words) mean words must be carefully chosen and used, story lines suggested subtly and characters developed succinctly rather than in the broad brush expansive mode available for longer stories. It's a form that often makes the reader work harder than longer, looser writing. Kiwis have a reputation for indulging in the noir, and this has shown through in previous competitions, says Barbara.
“Our judges have commented that many past entries have had a preoccupation with death. But anything can inspire a story – a photo, a memory, something that made you laugh. It's always good to think outside the square.”
It's often said that writing is a solitary, even lonely occupation. Having the opportunity to meet and discuss what you're doing with other like-minded people is a real help for intending authors, building confidence and providing feedback.
Anyone who loves words and writing can gain support, guidance, encouragement and inspiration from fellow wordsmiths at the Franklin Writer's Group, whose members meet every Tuesday lunchtime during the school term at the Ed Hillary room at Franklin : The Centre.
“The group has had several established authors, including Janet Pates and Josie Laird. We hold regular workshops with invited speakers, and our members can help with advice about getting material published,” says Barbara.
Entering the competition could be the start of a writing career, whatever form that might take – children's literature, the popular family history, even poetry or the Great New Zealand Novel. The winning story will be published in elocal, giving its author exposure to a wide audience. Entries must be received by June 30th and may be emailed or, for those who prefer to see their work on paper, they may be posted in – but be kind to the judges and don't test their eyesight with your handwriting!